How to Ruin 3 Faction MMO PvP

TESO Cyrodiil Instances
I can see it now…

If you ever have the desire for a guide on how to instantly ruin 3 faction MMO PvP, and guarantee no chance of it ever recovering from a shallow and meaningless themepark experience,  The Elder Scrolls Online appears to be writing the book. Yeah, that’s harsh, but I’m shocked more people aren’t saying something.  Here’s what I’ve learned from various media who were able to see the game in action.  Personally, I hope they have it all wrong, and if they do someone speak up.

Since there is only one “mega server”, Cyrodiil (the PvP zone) will be split into multiple instances to accommodate population. Players are assigned a campaign when they create their character (or reach level 10 or something). The campaigns are apparently NOT integrated in any way (I thought they were). There’s really no way you can spin that to sound good to anyone who knows something about open-world persistent RvR.

Problem: There’s no true sense of permanence or achieving a victory when you duplicate a zone.  Even if you call them “permanent instances,” even if they are technically open all the time and mimic servers, nothing is ultimately hinging on your campaign.  “How’s Ebonheart Pact doing in your campaign? We’re losing.  Oh you should transfer over to campaign B since we’re totally dominating here!”

If a certain campaign is struggling, the devs will funnel new players to that instance/campaign.

Problem: Developers getting involved in who is winning?  HANDS OFF the battlefield!  That’s the entire point of having three factions: let the battlefield balance itself.  So not only are there population caps on the battlefield and multiple instances, but the developers can choose to, at their discretion, help the people losing side by giving them more players.

When you hit level 50, you can go to the other faction’s PvE areas.  At that point you’ll be able to communicate with the other factions, and even make friends and run dungeons/play with the other factions. [Source]

Problem: They are supposed to be your enemy!  You wake up each morning with a burning hatred and passion to wipe them off the map, not plan to raid with them.  From a PvP perspective, this is a mistake.

So let’s sum up what we have so far:

  • Multiple instances of the Alliance War zone creating no continuity between Cyradiil and the rest of the world.
  • Funneling population where it’s needed to alter balance by automatically assigning players a campaign.
  • Grouping up and PvEing with your opponents

In short, how do you ruin 3 faction MMO PvP?  You instance it on a mega-server.

I’m curious to learn how I’ll be able to meet up with friends in campaigns.  According to what I’ve read, new players are assigned a campaign to participate in.  What if we get assigned different campaigns?  What if my guild of 20 wants to go play together?  How do we get into the same campaign?  Can we transfer campaigns instantly? All I’ve read is that transferring is “limited”.   Why are these even questions I have to ask?

Remind me why this system exists?  Remind me why the alliances exist, and why they are fighting on instanced battlefields but chummy in dungeons?  The Elder Scrolls Online should just drop this PvP charade altogether and go straight PvE; clearly their PvP is a tack-on.  I can’t understand why anyone would ever think these are good PvP design principles.  If I can see the huge problems this far away, why can’t the people in charge?  Who is deciding to forgo servers, one static battlefield, and a real sense of faction-based fighting in favor of this shallow disconnected and seemingly meaningless themepark nonsense? (more…)


Rift: Storm Legion Tour Part 3

In this last look at my tour of Rift: Storm Legion, I want to outline some of the details I gleaned about the world, souls, and overall Rift experience from Community Manager James “Elrar” Nichols.

Changes to the World

Rift: Storm Legion Tempest Bay
Tempest Bay finally brings that real capital city feel to Rift.

Storm Legion adds two new continents and a new capital city.  According to James, each of the new continents are bigger than the original game world.  That means the new areas roughly triple the size of the world. There are two starting locations — one on each continent — and a different experience can be found playing through each of the continents.  Brevane is all about discovering what is going on, figuring out the mystery, and exploring.  Dusken throws the player into the middle of a war.  James emphasized that players can find a unique experience on each of the continents, allowing for additional playthroughs without repeating content.

Quest Hubs are story-driven locations.  The team wants to get away from having a player go to a camp and pick up a ton of kill quests.  Now the kill quests are available in a slightly more organic way.  If a bear is slain it can offer a quest to kill more bears.  You can then turn that quest in to an NPC.  I was reminded of the “bears bears bears” Paul Barnett line back from the WAR hype days.   So like I said, quest hubs are for the story aspects whether for you personally or for the zone.

Read more after the break for my impressions of Rift: Storm Legion. (more…)


Rift: Storm Legion Tour Part 2

In Part 2 of my Rift: Storm Legion hands-on Tour I want to focus on Raids and PvE content.  Storm Legion will launch with 1 20-man raid, 1 10-man raid, 7 new dungeons, and after their first big patch a second 20-man will be added.  Listening to James explain Trion’s approach to content in Storm Legion, I got the distinct impression that Trion really wants to come out of the gate strong.  Their story is important to them.

Regulos and Crucia are some nasty villains.  Regulos, The Dragon of Extinction, The Destructor, and a slue of other titles, is planning his comeback.  His presence (Plane of Death stuff) is clearly visible in some of the new zones.  Crucia, leader of the Storm Legion, Dragon Goddess, and lover of oddly-attractive succubi-harpy-things, is of course center stage during the entire expansion.  These bosses are so big and important to the story of Rift that the only fitting way to emphasize their strength is through raiding.

Rift doesn’t do a whole lot to change the concept of raiding for themeparks.  These will feature tiered loot progression, be instanced, and be very familiar to veterans of contemporary MMO raiding.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide if this is a good thing or not.

I took a ton of screenshots.  Perhaps too many.   Instead of a wall of text, I’m going to give you a picture tour and briefly talk about each image.  Any images I do not include can be found at the bottom in the embedded gallery.   Is it still appropriate to give a 56k warning?

Since I was shown many of the new raid bosses, including the current final encounter for the expansion, I was asked not to reveal any strategies.  Here’s a hint though: Having an invulnerable insta-kill-wielding CM with you helps.

Storm Legion Crucia Returns

Read on for more after the break.